Johanna Podlesak

Job Title
Director of Pacific Programmes


Johanna Podlesak

Jo is the Director of Pacific Programmes for Conciliation Resources Australia (CRA), based in the Melbourne office. She is responsible for overseeing Conciliation Resources' peacebuilding programmes across the Pacific region, with ongoing programmes and partnerships in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands.

Prior to joining CRA in early 2024, Jo spent some 25 years working in diverse leadership and management roles in the humanitarian and development sector, with organizations such as the Oxfam International Confederation and the International Rescue Committee. She has a deep commitment and passion for social justice and addressing the underlying causes of conflict, poverty, and inequality. Her leadership experience includes leading teams and programs in fragile and conflict/post-conflict settings such as Timor Leste, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Chad, Sri Lanka, and Occupied Palestine. More recently, Jo was leading programs relating to gender justice, climate change, economic development, governance, and disaster preparedness and response in the Pacific region for Oxfam Pacific.

Jo holds an undergraduate degree in Genetics and Microbiology from the Australian National University, a Graduate Certificate in Humanitarian Leadership from Deakin University, and speaks fluent German, middling French, and smatterings of Bahasa Indonesian, Persian, Arabic, and Timorese Tetum. In her spare time, she likes to keep her feet on the ground with swim teaching for children and yoga teaching for adults.